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Spicy Three-Bean Chili with Warm Corn Tortillas

This spicy chili, made mostly from pantry staples, can be easily doubled to feed a crowd. A splash of rice vinegar gives it an unexpectedly bright and zesty flavor. Garnish bowls of chili with grated sharp cheddar cheese and additional fresh cilantro leaves, if you like.


  • 1 small can (7 oz.) chipotle chilies in adobo 
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil or canola oil 
  • 1 yellow onion, diced 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1 Tbs. chili powder 
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano 
  • 1 Tbs. ground cumin 
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 
  • 1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes 
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz.) pinto beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz.) white beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 2 cups water 
  • 2 tsp. rice vinegar 
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro 
  • 16 corn tortillas 


Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Puree the chipotle chilies in adobo in a blender. Measure out 1 to 2 tsp. and store the rest for another use. (The puree will keep in the refrigerator for 1 month.)

In a large pot over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauté, stirring frequently, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, oregano, cumin and salt and cook for 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes, beans and water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, cilantro and chipotle puree to taste.

Meanwhile, wrap the tortillas in aluminum foil and heat in the oven until warm. Ladle the chili into warmed bowls and serve the tortillas alongside. Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Eat Well, by Charity Ferreira (Oxmoor House, 2008).